Ant being ejected from the nest.

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Therat
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:42 pm
Location: Australia

Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 32762Post Therat
Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:53 pm

Hello!
I live in Brisbane in Queensland.

I believe I got a tiny colony of 13 ants, Nylanderia or Prolasius I believe (matches the pictures I have seen). Got them since February when the queen ran out from under my keyboard at work. I apologize for the lack of pictures, my Sony Xperia takes absolutely crappy pictures. 5-6 mm in size, dark brown. I cant see their mandibles closely enough to do a teeth count! Sorry!

Where I work, the ant diversity is truly healthy, at least 4-5 different ant species coexisting in various niches, you'll see tiny black ants (Lasius?) to Dolly ants (shiny butts), very quick red ants (not fire ants), even the large sugar ants (Camponotus) whats cool is you'll see the Camponotus only coming out in the late evenings. Interesting how these ants coexist together!

Now, this is my first colony. I've been watching AC videos for over a year. Should be easy right? Test tube, cotton ball plug with water reservoir, dark place, food and then boom! 100 ants in no time? Interestingly the Queen never got rid of her wings. They are now torn and tattered like a cloak!

8 months later, I only have 13 ants (12 workers and the queen). These ants are difficult to breed. Very picky with food, Will love sweet sugar water, then quickly lose interest, lose interest in protein, other fruit etc, I have started to give them injured ants from out back (Lasius), which they seemed to take up and I have not seen any cannibalism in a while, I hope. I leave them alone and yet I still see them eat their young.

I had them in a testtube setup, but recently placed the tube into an Outworld (Ferroro Rocher box), this seemed to reduce their stress levels.

So as a noob, I have searched high and low regarding my ants' behaviour, particularly these species, or if this is typical of ant behaviour.

My questions:
Why do the ants cannibalise the young? Disease? wrong food, so they are starving? Anxiety? Stress? I may have answered my own question, if so, help point this out, and other things I can do!

Next question: this happened today, which prompted this post. One ant appeared to be ejected/exiled from the colony! It appeared to be one of the younger ants, smaller, less brown than the older ant carrying it out! Weirdly only this particular ant seemed to have developed some beef with the exiled one, the rest don't seem to care. The exiled one would be carried out to the other side of the box by this particular ant, only to make its way back into the tube, then would be carried out again. Interestingly, the other ant did not attack it or anything, just lift it up carried out of the next as far away as it could then release it. Poor thing, its going to starve. How did this happen? and how can I prevent this? did its scent change? was it carrying a disease? It does not look like its sick or dying.

So, hopefully these ant species is easy to keep! Fascinating watching ant behaviour, who would've thought!

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idahoantgirl
Posts: 1509
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 32845Post idahoantgirl
Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:39 pm

Therat wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:53 pm
Hello!
I live in Brisbane in Queensland.

I believe I got a tiny colony of 13 ants, Nylanderia or Prolasius I believe (matches the pictures I have seen). Got them since February when the queen ran out from under my keyboard at work. I apologize for the lack of pictures, my Sony Xperia takes absolutely crappy pictures. 5-6 mm in size, dark brown. I cant see their mandibles closely enough to do a teeth count! Sorry!

Where I work, the ant diversity is truly healthy, at least 4-5 different ant species coexisting in various niches, you'll see tiny black ants (Lasius?) to Dolly ants (shiny butts), very quick red ants (not fire ants), even the large sugar ants (Camponotus) whats cool is you'll see the Camponotus only coming out in the late evenings. Interesting how these ants coexist together!

Now, this is my first colony. I've been watching AC videos for over a year. Should be easy right? Test tube, cotton ball plug with water reservoir, dark place, food and then boom! 100 ants in no time? Interestingly the Queen never got rid of her wings. They are now torn and tattered like a cloak!

8 months later, I only have 13 ants (12 workers and the queen). These ants are difficult to breed. Very picky with food, Will love sweet sugar water, then quickly lose interest, lose interest in protein, other fruit etc, I have started to give them injured ants from out back (Lasius), which they seemed to take up and I have not seen any cannibalism in a while, I hope. I leave them alone and yet I still see them eat their young.

I had them in a testtube setup, but recently placed the tube into an Outworld (Ferroro Rocher box), this seemed to reduce their stress levels.

So as a noob, I have searched high and low regarding my ants' behaviour, particularly these species, or if this is typical of ant behaviour.

My questions:
Why do the ants cannibalise the young? Disease? wrong food, so they are starving? Anxiety? Stress? I may have answered my own question, if so, help point this out, and other things I can do!

Next question: this happened today, which prompted this post. One ant appeared to be ejected/exiled from the colony! It appeared to be one of the younger ants, smaller, less brown than the older ant carrying it out! Weirdly only this particular ant seemed to have developed some beef with the exiled one, the rest don't seem to care. The exiled one would be carried out to the other side of the box by this particular ant, only to make its way back into the tube, then would be carried out again. Interestingly, the other ant did not attack it or anything, just lift it up carried out of the next as far away as it could then release it. Poor thing, its going to starve. How did this happen? and how can I prevent this? did its scent change? was it carrying a disease? It does not look like its sick or dying.

So, hopefully these ant species is easy to keep! Fascinating watching ant behaviour, who would've thought!
I can't say about them carrying the worker away, but as far as eating the young I would guess stress. They would much rather eat food than brood, but they will eat them when under stress. Just take it easy on how often you check on them.
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Keeping Tetramorium immigrans, Tapinoma Sessile

antsRlife
Posts: 132
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:27 am
Location: melbourn, victoria
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Re: Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 32851Post antsRlife
Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:47 pm

hey, i happen to live in Victoria, Australia and i have only been in ant keeping for a couple of months now. and through those couple of months, i have learnt many things, what is right for the ant and what is okay, and bad for the ants. if you could get some photos in for me i may be of help. but what adahoantgirl said, if the queen and workers are eating there eggs and brood, its probably stress.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoK1vrz8AF48t3iJMmgvh2Q

Early Stage Nests:
x1 Aphenogaster Longiceps

Therat
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:42 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 36430Post Therat
Mon May 28, 2018 7:01 am

Update!

Indeed, It does appear to be stress.

Since putting them into the Ferroro Rocher box outworld, their population has exploded! I lost count at 300, likely approaching 500 now. I'd shine a light to spy on Her Highness, and she would walk on top of the brood pile spinning around several times to find a comfortable spot, then raise her abdomen forward and lay eggs, then the nearby ants do a celebratory dance!

Interestingly, pieces of cooked meat I placed in there did not grow any mould at all (can be weeks after I left the pieces in there), but a similar setup for a cockroach nymph I caught (to feed to the ants when it reaches adulthood, but i think I'm becoming attached to it, at least its clean) grew a quite very scary looking fungus and mould garden very quickly. I'd see the ants go over the meat meticulously, they appear to be cleaning it.

The test tube setup, grew a black mould on the cotton side facing the nest, but then they appear to tear out the cotton/eat it, then appear to dig into the cotton to expand it. They have eaten away huge chambers and placed brood there, even onto the blackened mould/cotton itself, the amount sparsely pulled cotton thread placed/dumped outside the nest is waaaaaay less then the missing cotton, likely this has been eaten up. I could often see ants nibbling away at the cotton, but they are seldom seen dumping the threads at all if ever.

So sometimes you need to move the ants to a bigger outworld as soon as possible, sometimes even less than recommended in the guides. Unclear, but it seems this Nylanderia species seems to cultivate a fungus to help brood and digest cotton which they then consume. They also clean their food to stop other fungus from growing.

I could take a blurry picture to post if anyone is interested in this behaviour, but I am pleased the nest is flourishing!

PS: the carrying ants away thing appears to be very routine. They seem to do this to their very old ants (black), and also stop feeding them. Although they appear sad once they die and are sometimes seen to remain close to a dead ant that had died this way, and then they dismember its abdomen and eat it! The graveyard is filled with black ants without abdomens. The younger ants are brown. The gaster/abdomen also tends to shrink as they age, but probably still contains valuable edible/accessible protein that they recycle.

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antnest8
Posts: 882
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:11 pm
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 36448Post antnest8
Mon May 28, 2018 4:25 pm

the most likely reason for the "cannibalism" is because it was a deformed callow worker.

also maybe the reason the roach molded is because the roach had more moisture
keeper of
3 tetremorium queens
2 C. pennsylvanicus
1 C novaeboracensis
1 tapinoma sessile colony
!!And A CREMATOGASTER QUEEN!!

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